Last year, the Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department has refused to issue the local chapter of GoTopless a permit for their rally on the grounds that the topless women participating in the event would violate the “proper attire”, code that it is still in effect this year.
Sylvie Chabot a Raelian woman priest, head of GoTopless in Canada reacted by saying: “The rule is in pure contradiction with the provincial ruling of 1996 that officially granted women the right to go topless in the province of Ontario.” (ref: Gwen Jacob was acquitted on December 9, 1996 by the Ontario Court of Appeal, http://www.gotopless.org/files/2012-07/Queen_vs_Jacob.pdf )
“If ‘proper attire’ means that women have to hide their chest in Toronto’s public parks and beaches, then men must be forced to do the same on the basis of gender equality!” Chabot added, referring to the very constitutional argument Maitreya Rael, spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement, made as he founded GoTopless in 2007.“All or none, Toronto!” exclaimed Chabot and added that the men participating in the rally would be wearing a bikini top to support gender topless equality in the current discriminatory legal climate.
GoTopless notices this sort of contradictory ruling not only in Toronto but also in other provinces where women’s topless rights are in effect. Words like ‘proper attire’ or ‘disturbing the peace’ are commonly used to effectively annul their topless rights.
“These are the result of obsolete religious morals that continue to hinder women’s rights in Canada and abroad. They must be denounced and abolished once and for all.” said Chabot.
GoTopless is calling on all men and women to join them on Sunday August 26 and to claim true gender equal topless rights in Toronto.
The protest will begin near Ashbridges Bay Park at 1:00 pm starting at Kew Beach Avenue where it meets Lakeshore Blvd. East (just south of Queen Street East). Visit www.gotopless.org for further information.
The public is also invited to sign the following petition to have the Toronto Municipal Code modified in accordance with the 1996 Ontario Court of Appeal ruling.